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“Police Brutality”: Video highlights cruel behavior of Punjab Police

Punjab Police
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A video from Sahiwal has emerged that shows the local police dragging and manhandling a veiled lady. It is not known on which charge the lady was taken away but the incident sparked off a local fight between bystanders and police personnel. Apparently, the local bystanders were incensed over the behavior with which the lady was being treated by the police officers.

A police officer in Sialkot, who was caught on video manhandling a child, during a raid on a residence in the Dhera Sindha area, was suspended from active duty on 15th of March. The video, which went viral on social media, shows a police officer grabbing a girl sitting on a motorcycle ─ believed to be between 4-7 years old ─ by her arm and tossing her harshly onto the ground at her family’s home on Wednesday. The police officer has been identified as Sadar Police Station’s Sub-Inspector Tahir.

The girl’s father, who is currently embroiled in an ongoing dispute with relatives, told the media that despite securing interim bail in the case, police officers had raided his home and misbehaved with his family, including the person shooting the video, who was allegedly subjected to physical violence and abusive language.

According to insiders, police can’t even think of executing criminals in fake encounters. In fact, they said, fake police encounters are carried out with the consent and on the orders of the top police officers, including district and regional police officers.

The callous and rather brutal behavior displayed in the above video highlights the fact that the Punjab Police acts under an umbrella of impunity. It is considered to be completely under the thumb of the PML(N) which rules the province and is often used as an “occupying force” rather than a law enforcement agency. The Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself is present in meetings overseeing the transfers of personnel all over the province. Often the harshest punishments given are suspensions even in case of murders.

Read more: Punjab Police: Do we feel answerable to God & our Conscience?

The practice of extrajudicial killings, also dubbed here as police encounters, is also quite common in this province. At least 269 alleged criminals were killed in 239 “police encounters” last year across the Punjab province. In 2016, the police had killed 340 alleged criminals in 291 encounters.

More than 450 suspects were shot dead by police during at least 359 shootouts across the province in 2015. Police sources describe 2015 as the year of “police encounters” in the history of Punjab Police. The figures were almost double if compared to 2014 when at least 259 suspects were shot and killed in 267 armed encounters. The police had killed 360 alleged criminals in a total of 397 encounters reported across the province in 2012. However, in 2011, at least 127 alleged criminals were killed in shootouts with the law enforcing agency.

A police officer in Sialkot, who was caught on video manhandling a child, during a raid on a residence in the Dhera Sindha area, was suspended from active duty on 15th of March.

Although police had killed hundreds of criminals during the last five years yet there was no let up in incidents of heinous crimes reported this year in Punjab. For instance, the provincial police registered at least 405,895 cases of crime in 2017 against 408,283 cases reported in 2016.

Read more: Police in Lahore summoned in court over missing activist

According to insiders, police can’t even think of executing criminals in fake encounters. In fact, they said, fake police encounters are carried out with the consent and on the orders of the top police officers, including district and regional police officers. The epidemic of encounter killings prompted the Supreme Court to take action.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has remarked “how can we now allow out of turn promotions in police at Punjab when we have imposed a ban on such promotions in Sindh.” He further remarked “out of turn promotions were given to such police personnel in Punjab who has remained indulged in extrajudicial killings. They have gone to such extent in Punjab that “kill the man and get out of turn promotion.

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